A former real estate and property manager for the city of Beverly Hills pleaded guilty to a grand theft charge stemming from lease payments she failed to collect from a tenant on city-owned property, city officials said Friday.
Ordered To Pay $100,000 In Restitution
Brenda Lavender, 52, was ordered this week to pay $100,000 in restitution to the city, complete 192 hours of community service and serve three years on probation, along with being given credit for one day she had already served in jail following her arrest last July.
Failed To Collect Lease Payments
Lavender failed to collect obligated lease payments from a tenant occupying a city-owned property from 2012 to 2015, and failed to notify the city that the tenant was in arrears for the lease payments, according to a statement released by the city.
Fired From The City
Lavender’s employment was terminated after the city discovered what had happened in December 2015 and reported the matter to the Beverly Hills Police Department, according to the statement.
City officials did not disclose why Lavender failed to collect the payments from the tenant or to notify city administrators, and a deputy district attorney declined to comment other than to say that the prosecution could not prove that she benefited financially.
Initially Charged With Embezzlement
Lavender was initially charged with one count each of embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds and perjury — the latter of which stemmed from her alleged failure to report a $15,000 loan she received from another tenant. Those counts were dismissed as a result of her plea to the grand theft charge.
City Reorganizes Property Management
The investigation prompted the city’s property management operation to be reorganized, with its functions being split between three city departments, according to the city’s statement, which notes that an internal auditor will be hired to monitor all city operations.